Provincial Election Debate – No Reference to First Nation Issues

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - The Chiefs of Ontario expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of attention paid to First Nation's citizens and their issues during last night's televised all-Parties-debate.

"Our issues should be issues of concern to all Ontarians, not just First Nations. We want to ensure the prosperity, health and well-being of our communities, just as everyone else strives for a better life for their children and families" stated Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse.

The current approach, characterized by silence, from all Parties reflects a lack of understanding and possibly a lack of concern over First Nations in the province. Although First Nations people in the province, and across the country, continue to struggle daily with dire socio-economic issues associated with poverty, the residential schools legacy, ignorance of their Treaties and more, their continued survival depends upon obtaining a healthy relationship with the settler governments (in this case: the province of Ontario and the Federal Government of Canada.) However, attempts continue to be made to work with both levels of governments.

Last week, the Chiefs of Ontario hosted a Town Hall Forum for Party leaders in the provincial race. Not one party leader was available to attend. Instead, representatives from each party, except for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, attended the event to share their positions on First Nations issues in Ontario. Regional Chief Toulouse noted, "I think the response to our town hall forum the previous week provided an accurate forecast on the level of attention our issues would be given during last night's debate. First Nations issues such as education, safe drinking water, child welfare and our inherent right to trade, barely touch the myriad problems our people face each day. To ignore a major segment of the population in this election confirms that reconciliation remains a goal not a reality."

The Chiefs of Ontario is a coordinating body and secretariat for the 133 First Nations communities located within Ontario.

SOURCE Chiefs of Ontario

For further information:

Andre Morriseau Communications Officer
Ph: 416-580-9320

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Chiefs of Ontario

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